I’m starting over.
Blogging, I mean, and it’s been a long time coming. Maybe this will resonate with you, too, because you’re a writer or an artist or a creative person and you feel it, too, on your own blog.
I don’t know about you, but my trajectory as a blogger has changed dramatically in the last few years. Seven years ago (7!) I started blogging before I hauled three suitcases over the ocean to Turkey so I could have something to share with my inner-peeps, family and friends from back home. Then I designed handbags, and my blogging shifted to cool design stuff and listing my products. When I started writing for The Hurriyet Daily News, instead of trying to sell stuff through my blog, I wrote about identity. Living abroad. Navigating the shiny and dark waters of being an expat.
I grew through my blog (which Amy Oscar talks about intimately here) and then starting shrinking. I burned out. Stopped posting a few months ago. I needed time to think about what blogging meant to me. And see if the love was gone or just dormant.
Here’s why I think it might matter to you:
1. Because I tried too hard, and lost the exuberance
Basic, no? But it’s surprising how quietly and unknowingly it can happen. One minute you’re happily blogging along about your focused blog content of choice – micro-business, author platform building, creativity – and the next you’re backed into a corner. Stripped of ideas. Nope, can’t write about that because it doesn’t fit. Overdone topic, anyway. Others do it better. Blogger block sets in and blog goes dormant.
You try too hard, too. I know it. We all do when we love something so much we want to share all our insights and do it in a manner that can be called professional, especially if we want to make a living writing or making art.
So here’s my restart affirmation 1: to write exuberant, authentic stuff that makes me feel free instead of shackled
2. I went too broad and too narrow at the same time
Creativity. I dove into writing about creativity because it fit my (then) bi-polar world: my uncertainties about being compelled to do both art and writing, so it turned into art vs. writing. I could house everything under creativity. But that made me feel generic and surprisingly, still limited. I ran out of SEO keywords. I started to feel like if I wrote the word creativity one more time I would scream.
Restart affirmation 2: I’m scrapping a label, for now, until I can rebuild a blogging voice that I love and can stand behind and share with joy and confidence
3. I learned how to blog, and then lost the love
I read Copyblogger. I read Justine Musk. Joanna Penn. I read JA Konrath. I read Lateral Action. You should, too. They are motivated writers and thinkers and they know how to inspire action, plus give you dedicated, specific information for people who write and create.
But instead of writing my own stuff with confidence, I started taking notes about what to do and not to do. I got excited and applied and unraveled and counted numbers. I played the comparison game and tried to be someone I was not.
I love to pick up something new that I’ve never done before and figure out how to do it from scratch. Like designing my blog. It’s the scanner in me. But I had to take a hefty break from reading everyone else to discover that my offerings must be authentic to me, to you, to the person taking the time to read what I have to say.
Restart affirmation 3: take breaks and stress less about it fitting into my platform, future. Focus on essential words and meaning, not fitting a mold
4. I had to drop the baggage
The blogging is selfish, blogging is self-promotional, blogging is about conversation with readers, blogging is — fill-in-the-blank baggage. When I started blogging, first started blogging in 2004, it was an organic extension of my life and where I was (or wasn’t). They weren’t always impassioned posts, but they were observant. Sure, I didn’t link enough, and I uploaded too many photos, but it was exciting because I created the content and it was like having an online journal instead of an online how-to manual.
Like Justine Musk says (and ignore my reason #3 for just a moment), blogging is your chance to write epic shit. And be real. And transparent. Or not. Just be yourself. I’m working on that.
Restart affirmation 4: to write epic shit, even if means shaking out the dust and overturning stones to find the rich stuff below
5. I didn’t know what I wanted
Instead of figuring it out through my blog, I stopped. And I didn’t post any updates why. I just disappeared. For a little bit. Because really, I stopped blogging a long time ago. The day I decided I had to “focus on my blog” and didn’t know that that meant except it made the blog seem like it was in the spotlight but no one, including me, was on stage.
Restart affirmation: scrap the worries that people won’t get it or won’t care or won’t be able to follow my train of thought
Because a really important mentor told me once that it takes more than one painting for people to understand a collection. Sometimes you need to lay all the drawings and paintings and scribbles out to see how it connects.
I hope you’ll join me as I go backwards, and turn my blog into a work-in-progress rather than a finished product.